West Berks Council use a Choice Based Lettings scheme, giving you more choice about where you want to live. The Choice Based Lettings System is available through our Homechoice West Berks website. This is where you’ll apply to join the Housing Register, find and bid on available properties, and where you’ll find information about previously let properties. You’ll also find lots of information about how we assess applications, how the system works and what you can expect.
To register your application, click on the ‘Register Here’ button. You’ll be taken step by step through the application form. Make sure you give us as much information as possible and upload all the documents we ask for. Here’s a list of the documents we’re likely to need to support your application, depending on your circumstances.
We may need documents that aren’t in this list – we’ll let you know if this is the case. All documents should uploaded to your application. This is part of the application, so make sure you have everything to hand. You can save your application and come back to it if you don’t have everything to hand. You can upload scanned documents or photos of documents.
Once your application has been assessed, we’ll get in touch to let you know what band your application has been placed in and your priority date. You’ll also be able to see this information in your online account area.
Make sure you tell us if your circumstances change at any time. This can be done by updating your application in your online account area. It’s really important you do this, as it may affect your banding, priority date or type of property you’re eligible for.
Bidding means selecting a property you are interested in, and letting us know you want to be considered for it. You’ll do this through the online account area of the HomechoiceWB website. This is where you’ll find available properties each week, as well as lots of information about each home. You can bid for as many properties as you like each week, as long as you’re eligible for them. The bidding cycle runs from 00:01 on Thursday to 23:59 on the following Wednesday each week. If you don’t place a bid on a property you want to be considered for during this period, you won’t be considered for the property.
If you think you’ll need help bidding on properties, please let us know.
Make sure you think carefully before placing bids, as your application may be suspended if you make 3 unreasonable refusals of accommodation. If you change your mind about a bid after you’ve placed it, you can remove your bid in your online account area. This won’t affect your application.
You will only be able to place bids on properties that match your bedroom needs:
|Household Size||Property Size|
|Single person||Bedsit or 1 bedroom|
|Couple||Bedsit or 1 bedroom|
|Parent(s) and 1 child||2 bedrooms|
|Parent(s) and 2 children, same sex under 16||2 bedrooms|
|Parent(s) and 2 children, opposite sex, older child over 10||3 bedrooms|
|Parent(s) and 3 children||3 bedrooms|
|Parent(s) and 4 children||3 or 4 bedrooms, depending on the make up of your family|
|Parent(s) and 5 or more children||4 or 5 bedrooms, dependent on the make up of your family|
For an explanation of the symbols used in our property adverts, hover over the symbol to see what it means.
Explanation of tenancy types
Affordable rent – the rent level including any service charge is no more than 80% of the local market rent level
Social rent – the rent level is based on Homes and Communities Agency target rents
Fixed term tenancy – the tenancy is offered for a fixed number of year, usually 5, and will then be reviewed. You may be asked to leave when the fixed term ends.
Lifetime or assured tenancy – you’ll be able to remain in the property as long as you stick to the terms of the tenancy agreement
Once bidding has closed, the Housing Allocations Team work through the shortlist to make sure only eligible bids are considered. If there are two or more applications in the same band at the top of the list, your priority date will decide the order of the shortlist.
The housing associations are given all relevant information and will get in touch with you if you have been successful in your bid. Make sure your contact details are up to date at all times, as if the housing association is not able to get in touch with you, you may lose out on the property.
The housing association will carry out their own eligibility checks. This can include affordability checks, credit checks and landlord references. You may be asked to complete a pre tenancy assessment which will ask for detailed information about your income, any benefits you get and outgoings. It’s really important you engage fully with these checks.
If the person at the top of the list isn’t successful in securing the tenancy, or doesn’t want the property, we will work down the list in priority order.
If you’re offered a property, you won’t be considered for any other properties until you have decided whether or not to accept the offer.
If you’re successful in securing the property and you accept the offer, you will be told by the housing association when you can move in. You’ll be given an appointment to sign the tenancy agreement and take the keys. You will usually be asked to pay some of the rent up front. This is different for each housing association, but it’s essential to be prepared for this. Most housing association homes are not carpeted or decorated, and they won’t include white goods.
You won’t be notified individually if your bid hasn’t been successful, but you will be able to find this information in your online account area.
All properties that have been advertised will be listed in the Recent Lets area of the Property Search tab. This will tell you how many people bid on each property, as well as the banding and priority date of the successful bidder.
You can use this information to get a good idea of how popular a particular property or area is, and how long you may have to wait.